In a slightly odd turn of commercialism, Japanese clothing retailer, Uniqlo, has started selling T-shirts tied in with Anh Hung Tran’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. Each shirt will be about 1500 yen (approximately US$19) and include a 300 yen ($US5) coupon good toward a ticket to the film when it opens in Japan on December 11th.
Designs included in the tie-in line are ones the with the film and book’s title in large type-face, ones that have abstract images presumably influenced by the story, and one that appears to have select passages from the book in French. Merde! Go on over to Uniqlo’s subsite for the T-shirt line and check them out for yourself.
For those who might be puzzled as to why a mega-conglomerate like Uniqlo, who’s not unlike Old Navy in their styles and reasonable prices and remains one of the lone retailers that’s experienced rapid growth in Japan’s depressed economy, would be interested in what is essentially an art film based on a romantic melodrama, Norwegian Wood remains Murakami’s best known book in Japan and was his breakthrough novel when it was released in 1987. Uniqlo also has established a history of T-shirt tie-ins and cross-promotional lines with video games, anime, and Disney being their heavy hitters; in fact, if you take a glance at the left side bar of their site, you may catch a line designed by renaissance man Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer, Taste of Tea). And, if anyone still questions the combination, there’s always that song by that band from Liverpool….
If you are interested in hearing a film review of Norwegian Wood by Chris Magee of the Toronto JFilm Pow-wow, check out episode 14 of our podcast.